Recent Progress and semi-healing
I want to share my story about my recent PROGRESS and semi-HEALING with migraines. I have suffered with migraines for 27 years. Without getting into a lot of history you can already imagine I have tried every drug and treatment under the sun. I was on Zomig (A triptan medicine) for approx. 15 years. I was not a believer in rebound headaches. For the last 3-4 years prior to 2010 I was taking Zomig practically daily. I was at my wits end with drugs, insurance companies, not getting the meds fills correctly from the Dr.’s office (I was taking more than the “FDA” recommended amount which required prior approvals. I went to the last Neurologist in this town I hadn’t already been to. At this time I was having 15-17 migraines per month. (March 2012)
My Neurologist told me he believed that if we worked together I could down to 2-3 migraines per month. Hmmm! He suggested I read this book.
I had seen this book before but quite frankly the cover turned me off as well as the “1-2-3” Program…sounded and looked like a quick fix type thing to me. I was very skeptical in reading the book but kept reading with an open mind. I decided to try the “Migraine Diet” as well as get off my pain medicine all together. This was a scary thought. (The book does give guidelines on how often you can take your Migraine med as well as how often you can take OTC) I chose to get off completely to “clean” my system out. (When the Dr. gave me permission after months of frustration to take ONLY 2-3 Zomig per month it was revealed that it was causing my increased heart rate and chest pain. Needless to say Triptans are no longer a part of my life. (No pain pill is except for OTC the recommended amount from the book for headaches.) I would like to note that I had been on Topomax for many months prior to this as well. And started Corgard in August. But I am now in the process of discontinuing those with no change in migraines during this process. (Currently I am down to my last dose of 1- 25mg pill (Topomax) per day and will be done in 10 days!!)
I did a little of my own research after reading the book on MSG and other foods and found the list of additives that contain MSG from Truth in Labeling .org . I figured I was automatically the person in column 3 and started eliminating all three columns… I lost 20 lbs in 2 weeks. These additives are in everything we eat that is packaged, canned or processed. (If you try this is would be a good idea to be on some type of preventive medicine if you choose not to use pain medicine. That is if you can find one that works for you. This is a nice back up. I have never found one to work.
I did not see any benefit of the “Migraine Diet” for 5 months. I believe this was due to the learning experience and figuring out how to eat and making mistakes along the way. Every migraine was and is a learning experience. I went from 15-17 migraines per month to 4 migraines in August, 6 Migraines in Sept, to 3-4 migraines per month. I have now maintained this for Oct/Nov/Dec. Now when I get a migraine I can tell you almost as a matter of fact it was 1 of 2 things I ate, or it is the weather. October and November I had fewer migraines during my menstrual cycle; only some of them occurred during that time. December I had ZERO migraines during my menstrual cycle. (I do pre-medicate with Naproxen during this time for other reasons. In December I made it a point to lay low, stay home and do nothing until it passed.)
NOTE: I have learned that I do get Sinus headaches associated usually with weather patterns and they are very hard to distinguish between migraines at times but I am learning to do this. Sudafed Sinus Congestion helps relieve these.
After dropping too much weight and staying there, along with the frustration of not being able to eat much, I decided to try only eliminating the things in column one on the MSG list. To see how my migraines responded to that. (This was after months of testing to see that I might not have sensitivity to most of those items.)
- Food to exclude: All aged cheese, Citrus, Buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt. (I have not been brave enough to try to reincorporate any of these yet.) Anything pickled.
- MAJOR triggers for me: Artichoke hearts (jarred, canned), Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (contain 5 items in column 1 on the MSG list) Sauces, dressings, broth, soups, dips. Wine/Alcohol. Sour dough bread.
- Foods I Reincorporated with moderation: Coffee, Chocolate, Raisins, All nuts. Fresh Bread.
- Tips: Read labels and carry the MSG list with you. You will memorize it after a while!
- I can have 2-3 servings per week of bacon, pork. Limit 1 banana per day (I have less than that)
- Eat Cake! Cookies! Drink whole milk! Especially if you struggle with weight gain while on this diet.
- Gelatin is in column 1 on MSG list but I found that I can eat foods that contain gelatin however, I have not tried “JELLO”.
- Must have Grocery List: Frosted Flakes Cereal, LifeCereal, Cheerios, Kitchen Basics Natural Chicken, Vegetable or Beef Stock in the carton (in place of broth), Wolf Gang Puck’s Organic Soup, Pacific Natural
- Foods Soup, (Check out soups in the natural soup section but read labels carefully there are not many), Safeway kitchens Tomato paste 100% natural, Mozzarella cheese (the best brand you can buy; deli, Sargento), American Cheese Best Brand (Land O Lakes but I cannot find it where I live). Cream Cheese.
(I have to consider Peri-Menopause may also have a role in this improvement; however when I end up with a migraine now, the cause is undeniable)
What works for me may not work for you but I figured this information was worth sharing since I have had a dramatic improvement and have identified definite triggers.
I also have noticed that the migraines I do have sometimes are worse (Vomiting and last longer). Yet sometimes are milder and allow me to sleep. I imagine this depends on what I consumed that gave it to me in the first place. I can actually make a case in point with my last two migraines, one mild and one severe. But I will end here.
These lists are not complete but what I can recall off the top of my head! I have to say I did get very discouraged and I have to give my husband credit for encouraging me continuously to hang in there and not give up. I think you have to give your body time to get “cleaned out” of the drugs and the food additives that build up before you can begin to see progress. You also will make many mistakes. Eating out is very difficult and so is eating food prepared by other people. You will learn to get very creative in cooking and eating. It helps if your spouse and/or family members are on board and are willing to eat what you eat. If I had to buy and cook separately for the household while going through this I may have had a nervous breakdown!! It is all worth it!! Give it a year and see if it is a benefit to you. As I read posts there are things that work for other people that have never worked for me. We are all different.
I pray this will be of help to someone and you will have the same improvement that I have. God Bless your efforts!